Sports

CA medico warns against Smith ‘overreaction’

Cricket Australias sports medicine chief insists it would be an overreaction if every player who copped a knock to the head was subbed out of a game, and has endorsed CAs handling of Steve Smith over the last two days of the Lords Test.

Having copped a scary blow to the neck from a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer on day four of the second Ashes Test, Smith went off the field but returned to bat later in the day, only to be dismissed for 92 in Australias first innings.

However the former skipper, who had entered the match in an extraordinary vein of form, experienced delayed concussive symptoms on the morning of day five, with Australian team doctor Richard Saw ultimately ruling Smith out of the rest of the match.

In a historic move, Smith was substituted out of the match, replaced by Marnus Labuschagne under recently-implemented concussion sub rules. Labuschagne made a fighting half-century in the second innings, helping the tourists to a draw and leaving them 1-0 up in the series ahead of the third Test at Headingley, which begins on Thursday.

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Smith is in doubt for that match though, needing to get through a series of Tests before he can be passed fit to take on England in Leeds.

That the superstar batsman returned to the crease despite being floored and appearing groggy after the missile from express quick Archer raised questions about CAs concussion protocols.

Steve Smith receives medical assistance after being hit in the neck by Jofra Archer. He left the field but returned to bat once Peter Siddle was dismissed.

Steve Smith receives medical assistance after being hit in the neck by Jofra Archer. He left the field but returned to bat once Peter Siddle was dismissed. Credit:AP

Those concerns were only amplified given Smith didnt take the field on day five.

But Kountouris was adamant that Saw had followed the correct procedure, and hadnt been unduly pressured into allowing Smith back onto the field after he was assessed as being symptom-free in the minutes after the fateful bouncer on Saturday.

He explained that as occurred with Smith, around 30 per cent of concussions were delayed, meaning symptoms dont present in the immediate aftermath.

“Delayed concussions are part of any sport,” Kountouris said outside the MCG on Monday.

Alex Kountouris (left) in his days as Australian team physio.

Alex Kountouris (left) in his days as Australian team physio.Credit:Vince Caligiuri

Kountouris, who spent years on the road with the Australian men as team physiotherapist before taking on the role as chief sports science and sports medicine officer at CA, said that to have prevented Smith from returning on Saturday merely on the chance he may have suffered a delayed concussion would have been an extreme measure.

“Our doctor is an expert in this field. Hes trained to pick up even any minor signs of concussion. He was very confident that Steve was fine,” Kountouris said.

“If we left him out of the game, we wouldve left him out of the game for no reason other than what we saw on the field.

“The reality is that onlRead More – Source

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